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White Glove Moving Scam

aptsherpa · Oct 18, 2006

A number of formal complaints have been lodged against the White GloveMoving & Storage Company, located in Jersey City, New Jersey. Most of the cases involve issues with the company raising the price of the move after providing an estimate or failing to pick up or deliver items on time. While the company has a clean record with the Better Business Bureau, several individuals have reported significant discrepancies between what White Glove initially told them and the charges demanded or services provided by the company in the end. Here are a few of the problems that some customers encountered, and what we can learn from these negative experiences.

Rate hike and intimidating behavior

Though this customer was originally given a specific price estimate for her move based on the weight of items to be moved, that estimate increased fourfold when the movers arrived at her house. After drastically increasing the estimate, the movers then attempted to appease the customer by lowering the price, but the total was still at least three times the original quote. The customer agreed to this revised estimate, but was then bullied into giving the movers a $400 tip in cash when they refused to move her items until they received the cash.

The major price hike didn’t result in better service—if anything, the company seemed to want to take further advantage of this (now high-paying) customer. White Glove had informed the customer that the move would take between one and two weeks, and the customer had repeatedly stressed that she needed her items by a certain date (soon after the two-week deadline) because she was beginning a job. The two-week estimate soon fell through, and the customer was informed her possessions would arrive the day after the absolute latest deadline she had clearly set for the company. That date was soon moved back a week. When the movers still hadn’t arrived over three weeks after they had taken her possessions, the customer was finally able to contact the company. The moving truck had traveled less than 500 miles in more than three weeks.

While this customer’s experience is undoubtedly horrific, it’s also indicative of the importance of obtaining signed contracts and getting estimates and arrival dates in writing. Of course unforeseen circumstances can always arise, and a company can mishandle an estimate and need to revise it later, but such a gross failure to provide services in a timely and cost-effective matter is certainly cause for concern. Intimidating behavior is never acceptable and should be reported immediately to the movers’ supervisors and even the police if necessary. If you have documentation of an agreed price, the moving company should not be able to extort additional funds from you. Moreover, most movers require a certain portion of the total price to be paid before the move, and leave the remainder to be paid after. You should have a percentage agreement that you can point to if the movers request more money before your items have been moved.

Bottom line: Create a clear agreement, get an in-person consultation if possible, and be firm about your expectations and needs.

Revised estimate and delays

Another customer had similar problems with White Glove Moving, though the situation was slightly different—a storage request, not a move. White Glove’s initial estimate included provisions for a certain amount of materials, and the company gave the impression that items could be packed, moved, and unpacked on the same day. The estimated price for these materials was later tripled, and the company claimed that packing would have to be done on one day and the moving the next.

In respond to these assertions, the customer negotiated the price down and insisted that the move to storage be completed the same day, offering to help the movers pack in order to expedite the process. Though this customer was able to negotiate the movers’ initial attempts to change the price, the moving company engaged in “bait and switch” tactics.

Bottom line: Negotiate with the moving company if they attempt to increase charges or modify the service. Unless a contract is signed, you can negotiate anything.

Complete cancellation

White Glove gave this customer the impression that they’d show up to complete his move as long as he paid a large deposit to justify the trip to his remote location. The customer made plans based on White Glove coming to complete the move on a specific date. On that day, White Glove failed to show up. When the customer contacted the company, they told him that they had decided not to perform his move due to the remote location. The company did return the customer’s deposit, but he was forced to hire a different company at the last minute.

Bottom line: Confirm and double-check your arrangements with the company. When possible, get an agreement with dates and prices in writing.

Late arrival, unclear conditions

White Glove arrived late at this particular customer’s home, and there was unclear communication between the company and the customer about the services to be rendered. The customer thought that the company would disassemble and reassemble furniture and unpack items from boxes once the move was complete. The company claimed it was not able to reassemble the disassembled furniture and that unpacking would incur additional charges.

Bottom line: Know what services you’re agreeing upon from the start.

Even more customers have had problems with White Glove arriving late and charging additional fees. Although the company officially has a clean record, this collection of customer experiences may be enough to raise some eyebrows. Regardless of what moving company you decide to use, the negative moving experiences had by many individuals highlight the importance of obtaining clear contracts and information about what services your move will include and what it will cost.

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